You may not know it, but a debilitating disease is creeping through the country.
I’m talking about Conservanomius Deregulitoma, better known as Tory-itis.
Efforts to date to arrest the progress of the disease have failed, and control measures put in place by authorities have largely been inadequate.
We last had a major outbreak of this disease in the mid-80s. It’s been bubbling away ever since, and I think it’s fair to say we never quite managed to eradicate it altogether.
The illness strikes young and old and, while it does tend to manifest itself more commonly within certain socio-economic groupings and amongst certain ethnic groups (i.e. mainly white upper-middle class men), it can be found in almost every community.
If you know what to look for it’s actually quite easy to diagnose. I’ve compiled below a brief list of the most common symptoms of Tory-itis.
- Your hands start to shake and you break out into a cold sweat whenever someone says “Sue Bradford”.
- You like John Key, even if he’s no Don Brash.
- You have more than once found yourself sipping fine wine at an up-market restaurant or swanky dinner party, while braying loudly about Maori entitlement.
- You are convinced that all of the nation’s problems would be solved if only you could pay less tax.
- You feel sympathy for Mark Hotchin.
- You find yourself talking to your spouse with sadness about an old friend, as if that person had just died. In fact, they’ve just joined the Labour Party.
- You think people should be able to spend their money as they please. If the want to blow thousands on unnecessary luxury goods, like Cuban cigars and the finest cognac, then good on them! Except if they’re poor, in which case you turn puritan and demand they give up drinking, smoking, gambling and sex.
- You know that a long and distinguished career in business is an essential qualification for political office. You also think Bill English is the best finance minister we have ever had.
- You think that the justice system is too PC, that sentences are too lenient, and that people are getting away with murder. You also think your finance company mate Trevor got a rough deal when he got 12 months’ home detention for pleading guilty to fraud.
- You think everyone has the same opportunities in life, and don’t see why some people should get state assistance. You earned everything you have today the hard way, apart from the starting capital of half a million that your father-in-law gave your business as an interest free loan that was later written off.
- You know that the answer is small government, deregulation and assets sales. You don’t remember what the question was.
The illness is particularly difficult to treat once it has taken hold. The disease is aggressive and ultimately debilitating, and can leave victims permanently emotionally stunted, with severe empathy deficiency.
If left untreated the disease can lead to permanent brain injury, with some sufferers experiencing delusions and even convincing themselves they live on another planet.
There is no one agreed treatment for Tory-itis. Early studies of the disease (Marx, 1867; Engels, 1848; Lenin, 1917; Mao 1949) proposed the use of radical measures to purge the body politic. However, this form of treatment was controversial, and led to a number of unnecessary deaths. The treatment also had a number of unpleasant side effects, including famine, totalitarianism, terror, and economic collapse.
Some clinicians have experimented with isolation therapy. This therapy treats the disease as a mental disorder, and the treatment involves isolating the patient from other sources of Tory-itis, such as Newstalk ZB, the National Party and the local golf club. This treatment has only mixed success, with relapse common within days of returning the patient back to their Tory environment.
Another method is shock treatment. This involves sending the patient to live somewhere dirt poor, and making them see the world as it really is for many struggling people. Again, results are mixed.
Tory-itis is highly infectious and contagious. It can be caught from radio shows, newspaper columns and blogs, and it can also be transmitted orally from other sufferers of the disease.
The only effective preventative measure is total avoidance. And fire. Lots of fire.